At the age of 24, when Gandhi was a newly qualified lawyer, he was sent to South Africa on a brief assignment. He was to defend the case of a local Indian trader who had landed in a commercial dispute. He stayed in South Africa for 21 years and during this period, he broadened the horizon of his outlook on the ethical and political front. In 1894, he founded the Natal Indian Congress. As he encountered racism during his stay, he developed non-violent protests against the exploitation of the non-white skinned people by the Whites. In no time, he was seen as the leader of the Indian community in South Africa. This gave rise to the well known South African refrain, "India gave us a Mohandas, we gave them a Mahatma"